Known as “black gold”, Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is one of the most popular gourmet products made in Italy.  Its market, valued at USD 1.30 billion back in 2021, is expected to reach the value of USD 2.17 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 6.60% during the forecast period (2022-29). Exports cover a share of approximately 70% and the main export markets are France, Germany and Japan but – above all – the USA.

It is for this reason that Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Dop recently flew to Boston for a masterclass dedicated to retailers, chefs and opinion leaders from the world of US food & wine. It was also the protagonist of two exclusive dinners reserved for operators and the press. A great opportunity to make Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Dop known – together with its history, culture and its unique production method – and to fight the growing distribution of Italian Sounding products.

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is a reduction of naturally fermented grape must, coming only from Lambrusco, Sangiovese, Trebbiano, Albana, Ancellotta, Fortana and Montuni vines. The must is cooked and then aged in barrels or casks made from selected wood types such as oak, chestnut, mulberry and juniper.
The minimum amount of grape must is 20% of the total quantity of product to be processed; a 10% of wine vinegar – which helps the fermentation process – and a 2% of caramel – for colour stability – are then added. Everything else, like chemical additives, artificial colouring and sulphites, are to be found only in low-quality, industrial products. 

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is the highest-quality balsamic vinegar available and it is, therefore, the most expensive. Products simply labelled as ‘Balsamic Vinegar’ are mass produced vinegars – aged for a minimum amount of time, if at all – and therefore they carry the cheapest price tag. 

Its delicate balance of sweet and sour which makes it a rather versatile ingredient: young and light-bodied Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is best used in cooked dishes, whilst fuller-bodied, longer-aged one is perfect as a sauce to enhance the flavour of fruit, vegetable salads or to add a touch of contemporary class to desserts and cocktails. Besides, it contains no fat and very little natural sugar thus making it a healthy choice

In order to protect this Italian excellence, many are the laws and strict regulations promoted by the Consorzio di Tutela dell’ Aceto Balsamico di Modena (Consortium for the Protection of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, founded in 1993). The Consortium represents over 120 vinegar producers for a production of 15 thousand litres, sold exclusively in the 100 ml bottle designed by Giugiaro, for a total turnover of around 5 million euros.

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